AL HAMNIK: Gould the life preserver that keeps Bears afloat

2012-11-11T20:15:00Z 2012-11-12T22:24:04Z AL HAMNIK: Gould the life preserver that keeps Bears afloatAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
November 11, 2012 8:15 pm  • 

CHICAGO | You know the routine by now.

If there's somethin' strange in your neighborhood

Who ya gonna call?

If it's somethin' weird and it won't look good

Who ya gonna call?

Robbie Gould, of course.

Many believed the Sunday Night Football slugfest between the Bears and Texans, both 7-1, would come down to a field goal by Shayne Graham or Gould.

Houston's pregame press notes listed Graham as the third most accurate kicker in NFL history (86.3), while the Bears had Gould at No. 3 as well (86.0) — based on career field goal percentage.

This much we do know: They both trail Nate Kaeding (87.0) and Mike Vanderjagt (86.5).

None of this matters to Gould, who's all about wins, not personal accolades. Even so, it's no surprise his name was being constantly mentioned during the week-long buildup to this game.

When you have the league's 25th-rated offense and 29th-ranked passing attack, you need all the help you can get.

Gould has 10 game-winning field goals since coming aboard as an undrafted free agent in 2005. His most recent heroics spoiled Carolina's Oct. 28 visit to Chicago, 23-22, in a game the Bears should've lost.

"I don't know if they're struggling," he said of the offense. "We scored 37 points last week (at Tennessee)."

OK, call it a sluggish offense.

"Are we really sluggish? I don't take notice of that," Gould said before Sunday's game. "You can't really control where you start. The offense is doing a great job.

"We're winning ballgames. We're 7-and-1. I don't think anyone is gonna sit here and wonder what constitutes struggling and not struggling."

Yes, kickers can have attitude.

"Obviously, we can all get better and make plays," Gould said. "We've been doing that and if we continue to, we're gonna have something special by the end of the year and hopefully make a run to the Super Bowl."

Gould was asked if this fun ride reminded him of the Bears' 2006 Super Bowl season, though the current roster is deeper and more talented.

"Yeah, we got a great team," he said. "Is it the same as '06? Yeah, some of it reminds me of '06, no doubt about it. But every year's different. Every year is a different locker room."

So much, maybe too much, seemed to be riding on Sunday's outcome, particularly since the Bears would go from the frying pan into the deep fryer next Monday night in San Francisco.

Would two losses be devastating? How about a 1-1 split? Could the fans handle that? The Bears didn't seem too concerned. They remained very business-like, despite all the hype.

That includes Gould, who says he can still improve his craft, become even more consistent.

"Absolutely. I missed a 33-yarder two weeks ago. That's not supposed to happen," he said. "Until I make 100 percent of my kicks every single time, I can always get better."

Could Gould play the hero once again Sunday night?

As I watched him convert from 52 yards out in the swirling pregame wind and rain, there was no doubt.

Bring it.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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